Mark’s matter of fact description of the death of Jesus continues. The political and religious dimensions of the crucifixion are never from the surface.
Two enemies of Rome flank Jesus; Jesus himself is there due to Pilate’s political expediency. His fellow Jews have religious reasons for their bitter words – the man dying in agony before their eyes is a shameful failure. Great promises and, yes, some remarkable deeds, yet all now exposed as just empty rhetoric and vain hope. His life ebbing away is proof of that. At last he is unmasked as a false Messiah.
His enemies rejoice. Jesus’ brutal end conclusively proves that their mostly surreptitious campaign against this Galilean nobody was justified. Not only are they finally rid of their fiercest critic, but their religious and political positions are enforced. So now, with no fear of losing the people, at last they can publicly mock the laughable pretensions of the man from Nazareth.
God’s honour is secure. The victory is won. It’s time to celebrate.
Do you hear the irony dripping from Mark’s pen?
The Crucifixion of Jesus
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.  29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.